A network is a collection of people you know. Networks can be very helpful in a number of ways.
- They are useful in finding job opportunities
- They are useful in obtaining introductions to others
- They are useful when you need advice
One of the valuable benefits of college is that you have an opportunity to build a network that is extraordinary.
What qualifies someone to be in your network? While this can vary based upon your specific need, the qualifications for someone being in your network include:
- Someone who knows you and can speak to some aspect of who you are (professional, personal)
- Someone who would be willing to help you
- Someone that you share a common bond with
A member of your network can be qualified by one or more of the above criteria.
Some members of your network can be considered active members. This would be someone who will do something special for you. In many cases, this support could even be without your asking for help.
In other cases, there will be passive members of your network. Typically these will be people with whom you share something in common (e.g. alumni of an academic program). Passive members will need to be cultivated if they are going to be helpful to you.
Increasingly networks are essential for many things that college graduates want to accomplish (e.g. internships, study abroad, scholarships, awards, graduate school, fellowships). Networks are a valuable asset that is often called social capital. Like any other asset, networks result from investments. The investment in this case is time rather than money..